Option 1: Poetry Explication, The Raven: An explication is essentially a close
Option 1: Poetry Explication, The Raven: An explication is essentially a close reading of a poem. For shorter poems, you will want to go line-by-line, and for longer poems, you may prefer to go stanza-by-stanza or a few lines at a time, interpreting and explaining the poem’s meaning as it progresses. You will want to pay close attention to literary devices such as symbol, metaphor/simile, image, etc. as well as the structure and composition of the poem. A successful poetry explication will not only interpret the poem but also note significant literary elements present in the work.
***For both options, you will want to quote and cite specific passages from the poem in order to illustrate your points. Don’t just tell, but show.
***DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT discuss a hypothetical reader or audience in your essay (ex.: “Here, the reader can see that…,” “This line makes the reader feel…”). When you do this, you are making the assumption that every single person who reads this text will have the same reaction, which we know is not true. Therefore, please do not incorporate this imaginary reader in your writing. Things to Remember:
No use of 1st person (I, me, my, we, us, our) or 2nd person (you, your) voice.
Quotes, citations, and the works cited page must be formatted according to MLA guidelines.
If you merely write a summary of your chosen poem, or a “book report” style essay where you explain what you personally feel or think about the poem, you will receive an F.
If you perform research and consult secondary sources, you must cite your sources in your essay. You are not required to use secondary sources, but they are not off-limits. If you do choose to incorporate secondary sources, please use only sources that are scholarly in nature. Do not use “study websites” such as Spark Notes or Shmoop. ALL SECONDARY SOURCES MUST BE APPROVED BY ME BEFORE YOU UTILIZE THEM.
The introduction should introduce the poet and the title of the poem, provide a brief summary of the poem, and present the thesis, which should be both argumentative and analytical.
The body paragraphs should present your analysis of the poem itself, and the conclusion should reiterate your analytical argument and signal an overall significance of how your reading of the poem contributes to its meaning.
Never begin or end a paragraph with a quote or borrowed material. A paragraph should begin with a strong topic sentence and end with a strong concluding sentence.
Literary analysis is always in present tense. If presenting actual historical details, you will use past tense, but otherwise, the essay should be in present tense.
If you experience any difficulties with this assignment, I strongly encourage you to visit the Writing Center, or come see me during my office hours. Each semester, many students tend to struggle with the writing assignments in this course, yet they never visit the Writing Center or come to me for guidance. If you need any help at all, please feel free to send me an e-mail or meet with me in my office.